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polarity

When applied to solvents, this rather ill-defined term covers their overall solvation capability (solvation power) for solutes (i.e. in chemical equilibria: reactants and products; in reaction rates: reactants and activated complex; in light absorptions: ions or molecules in the ground and excited state), which in turn depends on the action of all possible, nonspecific and specific, intermolecular interactions between solute ions or molecules and solvent molecules, excluding such interactions leading to definite chemical alterations of the ions or molecules of the solute. Occasionally, the term solvent polarity is restricted to nonspecific solute/solvent interactions only (i.e. to van der Waals forces).
Source:
PAC, 1994, 66, 1077 (Glossary of terms used in physical organic chemistry (IUPAC Recommendations 1994)) on page 1151
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IUPAC. Compendium of Chemical Terminology, 2nd ed. (the "Gold Book"). Compiled by A. D. McNaught and A. Wilkinson. Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford (1997). XML on-line corrected version: http://goldbook.iupac.org (2006-) created by M. Nic, J. Jirat, B. Kosata; updates compiled by A. Jenkins. ISBN 0-9678550-9-8. doi:10.1351/goldbook.
Last update: 2014-02-24; version: 2.3.3.
DOI of this term: doi:10.1351/goldbook.P04710.
Original PDF version: http://www.iupac.org/goldbook/P04710.pdf. The PDF version is out of date and is provided for reference purposes only. For some entries, the PDF version may be unavailable.
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